Goodbye Scott Parker. England captain one year, QPR chaser-of-the-ball the next. We love to dig at Harry Redknapp (as often as possible) especially at the moment when comparing our Baldini inspired transfer window business to his moneyball variant, however his most inspired moment was signing Parker and then having the player ram all doubt back down the throats of many.
In his first season at White Hart Lane he was sensational in a non-glamorous type of way. Hassled and covered and worked himself into the ground for the team. His discipline, to protect and act as chief assistant recycler of ball alongside Luka Modric who would receive Parker's one metre pass. No margin for error. The midfield workhorse would force error in the opposition by biting, constantly biting, at their legs, attacking the ball without a moments pause. Tottenham needed Parker. And it worked perfectly. Mostly because of how effective Luka Modric was when receiving the ball from Parker. Sadly, this was a one season exclusive.
Unfortunately for him, his form degraded thanks to the lack of common sense from football genius Redknapp, who decided the player couldn't possibly be human and played him with constant obsession, never relenting. Injury also proved detrimental to recovery of form. Under Andre Villas-Boas, the instructions didn't match to the more simplistic ideology of Harry. Parker lost his discipline by consequence of having to play outside of the comfort bubble, which burst when AVB arrived. Sandro has since been allowed to grow in statue, something he wasn't able to do when Parker dominated selection.
Okay, so, the reality is, Parker was very good at what he did when he was fit and able. Tired old legs would impact that ability to perform at a high level of consistency. To then be asked to adapt his game to a level outside of his remit, well, we asked too much of him. No debating that his heart was always 100% in the game. His movement was more 360% (joke stolen from 10,000 online Tottenham supporters). Insert additional sat nav and crop circle joke here.
He never looked comfortable in more forward positions. Far too much patrolling up and down the pitch rather than enjoying a more concentrated central marshalling job. It was erratic, and in possession with time to run with the ball, sometimes too sloppy. Parker excelled when had the single objective to accomplish. Too much responsibility equated to bigger potential for mistakes.
When he arrived, he was a player that the majority (at least the ones vocal to me) believed would fail. Hands up, I didn't fancy him. Great haircut, but always believed he looked good at West Ham thanks to the dross that surrounded him.
He didn't fail and I was wrong.
He performed with strength and pride and truly allowed the creative craft of the side to embrace its expressive freedom whilst he got himself dirty with the hard graft.
Good luck and thanks for that superb 2011/12 season.